Frequently Asked Questions
FAQ - General
Q: How do I know what drugs are monitored by the Program?
A: The Program monitors any drug that is a controlled drug under the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act (Canada) and is listed in the Schedules of that Act except testosterone when compounded for topical application for local effect to the vaginal area and benzodiazepines. Examples of monitored drugs include narcotics such as morphine, oxycodone, hydromorphone, etc., stimulants/amphetamines such as Ritalin™ and Adderall XR™ . Please refer to the Program's List of Monitored Drugs for more information.
Q: I don't want any of the prescriptions I get filled to be monitored by the Program. Can I opt out?
A: The Nova Scotia Prescription Monitoring Program is not an optional program. Provincial legislation supporting the responsibility and authority of the Program was passed in July 2005. This legislation requires that all prescriptions for monitored drugs filled in a pharmacy in Nova Scotia to be monitored.
Q: Can the Nova Scotia Prescription Monitoring Program report physicians, dentists, nurse practitioners or pharmacists to their professional regulatory authority? If so, under what circumstances?
A: If the Program has reason to believe that a physician, dentist, nurse practitioner or pharmacist may be practicing in a manner that is inconsistent with the mandate of the Program, the Program may refer the case on an anonymous basis to the Program’s Practice Review Committee (PRC) for review. The PRC may choose whether or not to refer the individual to their licensing authority for further review. The Program can provide a licensing authority with information regarding the activities of a member of that licensing authority, and shall provide the licensing authority with all relevant information.
Q: Can the Nova Scotia Prescription Monitoring Program report individuals filling prescriptions for monitored drugs to law enforcement? If so, under what circumstances?
A: If the Program has reasonable grounds to believe an offence has been committed, they must provide to the appropriate law enforcement authority all necessary information including, the individual’s name; address; an identification of the drug or drugs in use; the number of prescriptions dispensed and the date of the dispensing; and the number of prescribers.
Q: What information can the Nova Scotia Prescription Monitoring Program give to my physician, dentist, nurse practitioner or pharmacist about me?
A: The Program can provide a drug profile that identifies an individual's prescriptions for drugs monitored by the Program. It includes, but is not limited to, the identification of the prescribers prescribing the drugs and the pharmacies dispensing the drugs.
Q: Why do I have to sign something when I pick up my prescription for my pain killer?
A: The legislation for the Nova Scotia Prescription Monitoring Program requires pharmacists to confirm the identity of the individual receiving the prescription by having them sign in the “REC’D BY” section on the Prescription Monitoring Program prescription pad. The prescription can be picked up by anyone to whom the individual has delegated that task (friend, delivery service, etc.). The legislation also gives the pharmacist the authority to confirm the identity of the person picking up the prescription.
FAQ – Online Prescription Submission
Q: I am a community pharmacist and I have just received a “new/refill” code error while trying to submit a part-fill for a monitored prescription on-line. What does that mean?
A: Please note that the original (first fill) claim must be received and accepted by the Nova Scotia Prescription Monitoring Program to allow subsequent “refills” (part-fills) to be accepted. Contact Us
Q: The prescriber has used an old pad, which is missing the prescriber’s “PMP ID”; How do I handle it?
A: “Old” pads are missing the prescriber’s “‘PMP ID”. (A PMP ID has 2 alpha characters followed by 8 numbers.) You have two choices for processing prescriptions written on these old pads. You can call the Program to get assistance with entering the prescription on-line or, if the Program office is closed, you can use your internal procedures to process the prescription manually and then submit the prescription to the Program by mail or fax.
Q: The prescriber has written a prescription with more than one strength of a medication on the same duplicate prescription. How do I enter that on-line for submission to the Program?
A: In this situation, the Program’s computerized system will electronically accept claims for more than one strength of the same drug , each with the same pad number, to allow you to dispense the prescribed dose. See NSPMP On-line System Guide for further information, (pg. 18.) Contact Us
FAQ – Registration
Q: I am an out of province prescriber and I prescribe for patients who live in Nova Scotia. How do my patients fill their prescriptions for monitored drugs in Nova Scotia pharmacies?
A: The Nova Scotia Prescription Monitoring Program legislation specifies that all prescriptions written for monitored drugs must be written on a specific Program duplicate prescription pad in order to be dispensed in a Nova Scotia pharmacy. If you prescribe monitored drugs for patients who live in Nova Scotia and you are willing to register with the Nova Scotia Prescription Monitoring Program, please complete and return the attached registration form. You will then receive (at no charge) a supply of duplicate prescription pads to use for prescribing monitored drugs to your patients who live in Nova Scotia.
FAQ – eAccess Registration
Q: I am a NS prescriber or pharmacist who wants to access patient profile information through the eAccess web application. How do I do that?
A: In order to be eligible for eAccess, prescribers and pharmacists must be registered with the NSPMP. As well, prescribers and pharmacists must also complete eAccess registration and user agreement forms. Copies of these forms are available for download from the website or can be requested from a NSPMP Customer Service Representative. Once the NSPMP receives the completed registration and user agreement forms, a username and password will be issued to the prescriber or pharmacist.
FAQ – Prescribers, Pharmacists and Pharmacies
Q: I am a prescriber in Nova Scotia and have recently received a “Drug Utilization Request” from the Nova Scotia Prescription Monitoring Program regarding one of my patients. I am being asked to send information about my patient to the Program. Can I send this information without the consent of my patient?
A: Under Section 18 of the Prescription Monitoring Act prescribers are required to provide the Program with information as long as the information provided achieves the objects of the Program. The objects of the Program are to promote:
(a) the appropriate use of monitored drugs; and
(b) the reduction of abuse or misuse of monitored drugs.
The prescriber can therefore provide information about any of the following: the prescribing of monitored drugs; the compounding of monitored drugs; the dispensing of monitored drugs; the drug utilization of monitored drugs; clinical records; a patient’s record; a patient’s chart; and, a patient’s health card number or equivalent provincial, federal or out-of-country number.
Q: I am a prescriber and would like to access a new patient’s history of prescriptions filled for monitored drugs. How do I obtain a profile?
A: Prescribers and pharmacists can now access patient profiles in one of two ways:
By contacting the Nova Scotia Prescription Monitoring Program by telephone to request a complete patient profile. This information can be faxed directly to an office or pharmacy within minutes of your call. Contact Us
Registered providers can also login to the eAccess secure web application and generate a patient profile independently.
Q: I am a community pharmacist and I am concerned with how a local prescriber is prescribing narcotics. How do I proceed with my complaint?
A: The Nova Scotia Prescription Monitoring Program accepts complaints from individuals regarding the prescribing or practices of a prescriber (physician, dentist or nurse practitioner), pharmacist, or pharmacy in regards to monitored drugs. These complaints may be reviewed by the Program’s Practice Review Committee (PRC). A complaint can be made by completing a standard form, or by contacting the Program staff. All information is confidential and outcomes are not released. Complaints may be anonymous if requested.To file a complaint, please contact us and refer to the Complaints policy.
Q: How do I contact the Nova Scotia Prescription Monitoring Program’s Medical Consultant to discuss a patient?
A: Dr. Peter MacDougall can be contacted by telephone or email. Please note that if you are contacting Dr. MacDougall by telephone, you may be required to leave a message. It is very helpful if you are able to leave an after hours telephone number for Dr. MacDougall to return your call. Email is also acceptable as long as no confidential information is included. Contact Medical Consultant